Switching parties up to MPs

Dr Mahathir (second left) answering questions during the Lawasia Constitutional & Rule Of Law Conference Dialogue Session. Lawasia president Christopher Leong is at left. Photo: Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday it was entirely up to the MPs if they want to switch political parties, but it must be for a good reason.

The prime minister said party-hopping is acceptable if they think they can’t contribute to the government or their current party.

“If you present yourself as a member of a party and because of that perhaps you win and then you jump, that is not being faithful to your promises.

“But, on the other hand, when faced with a government that is really bad and you can’t hop and have to still stay with the government, I think that’s not going to contribute to good governance.

Dr Mahathir (second left) answering questions during the Lawasia Constitutional & Rule Of Law Conference Dialogue Session. Lawasia president Christopher Leong is at left. Photo: Bernama

“I think you should be able to hop and change parties,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Lawasia Constitutional and Rule of Law Conference 2019, here.

Dr Mahathir was asked whether the government has any plan to introduce a law against party-hopping.

He said personal aspirations should not be the reason for party-hopping.

“Not because you see that if you’re close to the prime minister you might become a minister. If that’s the reason you’re hopping, that is bad,” he said.

To a question on national unity, Dr Mahathir said fostering unity should start at the school and the government had proposed for national schools to have the three main races under one roof but this was rejected.

“It’s important to have a good value system, apply it at a very young age. (But) this is difficult because we have accepted that different races should be in different schools. We had proposed a national school where everybody goes to the same school but it was rejected.

“We proposed three schools in the same campus where, during the assembly, they (pupils) will be playing together, not representing the school but certain divisions, classes, houses or whatever, but it was rejected,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said he believed that if the idea had been implemented, students would be able to get to know each other and forget their differences, and hence uphold national unity. – Bernama